Herp Update: Concert postponed, snake and amphibian migration—October 7, 2022

Herp Update: Concert postponed, snake and amphibian migration—October 7, 2022

Patti Casey/Colin McCaffrey fundraising concert rescheduled for Saturday, October 29

Sadly, one of our performers tested positive for covid the morning of our scheduled fundraising concert, so we had to postpone the event.

We have rescheduled the event for Saturday, October 29, at the same time (7 PM-9 PM) and same place (Salisbury Congregational Church) here in Salisbury, Vermont. Those who already had tickets for the first event can either use those tickets at this event (we have your name on a list), ask for a refund, or just donate the cost of the tickets to the Vermont Reptile and Amphibian Atlas. (Donating to the Atlas actually happened when you bought the ticket, so you really don’t need to do anything to donate.)

We still have room for another 30 or so people in the church, so you have another chance to buy a ticket, if you would like. For more information or to purchase a ticket, just visit our website at VtHerpAtlas.org. Tickets will also be on sale at the door for $25, but they are cheaper in advance, plus you know that you will have a seat. We look forward to seeing you there.

Team Herp will be there to meet you and we will have our Herp Atlas hats, posters, magnets, and bumper stickers there to sell. Be one of the first to have our new “Support Mandibular Liberation” Herp Atlas bumper stickers!

Snakes on the move

This time of year, the first few cold nights of fall send a signal to our snakes that they have to be moving to their upland denning locations. So, on warm sunny afternoons in October, you often see them moving across roads, or more dangerous yet (for the snakes), basking on roads.

I used to take my daughters to a snake-crossing area close to my previous home in Bridport. At that site we would sometimes see dozens of DeKay’s Brownsnakes, Red-bellied Snakes, and Common Gartersnakes crossing a 50 meter section of dirt road in just a period of only 1/2 hour or so. Sadly, some of the snakes had been run over, but the others we would pick up and move to the uphill side of the road. We are now getting reports of this type of fall uphill movement.

Some of the most successful searches take place on the first warm sunny afternoon (you want the section of habitat and road you are searching to be in the sun) after a frost. It may be too cold for them to move for a few days after a frost, but when the temps get back up into the 60’s with sun, they will move.

So, on the next warm sunny afternoon, take a walk or a bike ride on a small road that crosses between an old overgrown field or a wetland and a rocky hillside and see what you can find. Remember that even a dead snake can serve as a very useful distribution record and hopefully, you can save a few.

Uphill Amphibian Movement

Many amphibians will also be moving uphill to overwintering locations this fall. Some amphibians move to wetlands, breed, and move back upland during the spring. But many amphibians stay in or near the wetland all summer. Those amphibians will be moving to upland wintering locations this fall on warm, rainy nights.

Here in Salisbury on Morgan Road we have seen Eastern Red-backed Salamander, Four-toed Salamander, Blue-spotted Salamander, Spotted Salamander, Spring Peepers, Wood Frogs, and sometimes other species moving as late in the year as December 21. However, most of the uphill migration takes place in October and November.

As usual, the time to look for them is at night when the roads are wet, and the temperatures are warm. The warmer the better, but temps over 32 F are a requirement and in the 50’s and 60’s F are ideal.


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